Media | Reviews

“A beautiful and heartbreaking story of friendship and survival, abuse and retribution, love and justice, told without sentimentality but with a reporter’s sharp and spare prose.”Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post

thanksgiving cover

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See below for what reviewers and publications are saying about Thanksgiving by Mary Arno!

A gripping coming-of-age novel. The cruelties and tribulations of adulthood are starkly presented; Thanksgiving is not for the faint of heart. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, Thanksgiving is a sober reminder that youthful optimism and the dogged pursuit of justice are invaluable human qualities expressly because they have a high cost.

— Midwest Book Review, December 2015

This novel is filled with surprises. [It] echoes the interlinking character stories seen in films such as Pulp Fiction and Love Actually. . . . A story of love, justice, survival and abuse, I recommend this book highly; especially the ending, which may catch you off-guard.

— Trident Media UK, Nov. 26, 2015

Thanksgiving is, in many ways, a classic and not surprising tale of several generations of resident families in a small town somewhere in the South or the Midwest. One thinks immediately of To Kill A Mockingbird or Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.

— Author Dean Robertson, January 12, 2016 (Full review HERE)

Local Author Provides Feelings of Home in Coming-of-Age Tale

Advocate reviewThe story begins during the characters’ formative years in 1965 New Orleans. We get a small glimpse into each of their lives, not knowing that the stories will later circle back to important events that happened during this time. . . .As they grow older, their stories wind and intersect, with positive and negative repercussions. Slowly, secrets from that first summer are revealed, with surprising, and sometimes devastating, results.

Mary R. Arno, a New Orleans native, is a talented writer who keeps her prose short and snappy without losing any descriptive flair.

“Thanksgiving” did not disappoint. – The New Orleans Advocate, Nov. 22, 2015


Amazon Reviews for Thanksgiving

Five-Star-Review-for-Thanksgiving-by-Mary-R-ArnoGreat read! on March 14, 2016 Format: Paperback
Loved this book. I found myself being drawn into the lives of these unfortunate characters before I realized it. Very well-written.

Format: Paperback
“Thanksgiving” by Mary Arno is an insightful and provocative reminder that all of our life choices have consequences. Setting and characterization skillfully developed, depict a Southern “color” and patois which reflects the time and place of the story. 

Very well written and an excellent book club book. Many characters and story lines setting the ingredients for discussion.


Thanksgiving by Mary Arno is as New Orleans as a book gets. The characters, scenes and stories (more about that) have that lush blend of flawed beauty and beautiful decay that evokes this amazing city. (BTW, if you haven’t yet, you must visit New Orleans.) It’s a quick read. The chapters are interconnecting stories — a format I love. There’s a mystery but not whodunnit style. Thanksgiving is many layered and yet the writing is so precise and masterful that a fat story is encompassed in the book’s slim heft. I was trying to think of how to say the disparate elements of Thanksgiving coalesce into something greater than the sum of its parts when the comparison to gumbo came to me. All those different ingredients come together into a feast for the palette. So it is with Thanksgiving. I feel sure Arno knows her gumbo as well as she does New Orleans.


Thanksgiving offers a compelling read about the New Orleans that is not on any tours. It transports you to times and places rarely written about, starting with the New Orleans suburbs in the 1970s by someone who grew up in there. Mary Arno weaves together a series of short-stories with a large cast of Louisiana characters putting you in a place you would like to inhabit, were it not for the gunfire. It’s not a mystery, but the experience is like a movie that compels you to stay up way late to find out how it plays out.
Mary Arno’s Thanksgiving is set against the backdrop of the city of New Orleans and it is, at one level, a love letter to the city of her birth. It is also a great deal more… above all else-and for this reviewer, the thing that defines it–a piece of writing from the heart and rich with the tradition of the best American literature…
Really enjoyed getting into these women’s lives. Needs a sequel please!
Five-Star-Review-for-Thanksgiving-by-Mary-R-ArnoPowerful on January 17, 2016
Thanksgiving delivers unforgettable characters of wit and the kind of daring that so often turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. Peg, Emmaline and Mimi and the men in their lives expose the shadow side of family and friendships. This tale of relationships gone wrong packs the emotional punch of a classic.
Five-Star-Review-for-Thanksgiving-by-Mary-R-ArnoShort Book, Great Feast on January 3, 2016
A splendid, emotionally captivating tale of growing up in Louisiana, of personal triumphs, disappointments and tragedies. This tale of three endearing women, takes you from childhood to adulthood, in a fast paced and sometimes uniquely abrupt style that catapults the reader through the book like a head on collision. Ms. Arno’s talent is not only in her writing, but in her ability to leave you wanting more.
Very interesting…A finely woven tapestry of characters and situations that all come together in the end. Once you pick it up, you can’t put it down.
on December 25, 2015
I read “Thanksgiving” in one sitting, enthralled. It’s an amazing weave of storytelling, insight, compassion and wit.
An amazing book by Mary Arno. Huge fan of all things New Orleans but this went above and beyond, with the quirky characters you’d expect and the grit and humanity you don’t often get. The author is deft with her writer’s paintbrush; she can paint a character with a single line, a scene with few words but loaded with meaning. The characters are intricate, as is the story. And the ending, well, I won’t spoil it for you… Suffice to say nothing’s predictable and this story will stay with you!
Five-Star-Review-for-Thanksgiving-by-Mary-R-ArnoFive Stars on December 2, 2015
This is a page-turner; Engaging mixture of nostalgic New Orleans, suspense and complex relationships.
Five-Star-Review-for-Thanksgiving-by-Mary-R-ArnoFeast of twists By Lanny T. on November 14, 2015
The intertwined lives of three women who survive traumas in their youth to face complications as they grow older is a feast of twists and surprises. In Thanksgiving, a traumatic event at a house in a New Orleans suburb in the summer of 1965 sets the stage for a string of troubling events that Mimi, Peg and Emmaline face in later life.
Thanksgiving has abusive people, cheaters, troubled marriages, scores to be settled, a murder or two, and a visit to the past, all of which make the book an intriguing read. There is an abundance of revelations, as when Mimi, after being initiated with lots of fanfare into a LSU sorority, reveals a secret that could shatter her upcoming marriage to boyfriend Beau.
Although much of Thanksgiving takes place mostly in and around New Orleans, story is not about the city itself, although the author does keep the city in focus by weaving into the narrative a devastating fire at the 200-year old Cabildo museum in the French Quarter in 1988, and the news coverage by a local newspaper where Peg is the city editor. There is suspicion that a winning race at the Fair Grounds race track was fixed by the horse’s shady owner. A women’s wage discrimination against the newspaper Peg works for settles a score. A race track character, a bar on Magazine Street, and a newspaper clerk who monitors police and fire department scanners throughout the night fill in local color.
With its fictitious take on every day reality and fast a fast-moving storyline, I was absorbed in reading Thanksgiving. Mary R. Arno did a superb job of wrapping up the story with a surprise ending that upstages all the others. It may make you want to go back and read Thanksgiving again. Arno is gifted with imagination and has a grasp on how to write good fiction.
Five-Star-Review-for-Thanksgiving-by-Mary-R-ArnoFantastic read! By enormousej on November 4, 2015
I was born and raised in New Orleans. And although I don’t live there anymore, I can say that New Orleanians are very critical of how our city is portrayed, often coming off as a caricature of itself. Mary Arno struck a perfect balance of our ingrained culture, phrases, and nuances with the real life that happens outside of the French Quarter, Jazz Fest, and Mardi Gras.
I’m giving Ms. Arno five stars because she did a masterful job of keeping me engaged. I didn’t roll my eyes. I didn’t skim paragraphs. I didn’t set Thanksgiving down for any long period of time, which is the kiss of death. I am typically a reader of mystery/suspense/thrillers, so I will not assume to be an expert in this genre, but the writing was excellent and she has gained an unlikely fan.

Netgalley Reviews for Thanksgiving

From Sarah R., Educator:Mary R. Arno’s ‘Thanksgiving’ is a beautifully fractured narrative offering glimpses into the lives of three women over the course of their childhoods and adult lives. The writing style takes a bit of getting used to; I initially found it disjointed and hard to follow. Ultimately, however, I came to be very attached to the characters and their intertwined stories. Arno writes with a poetic, visual touch, bringing characters, story and setting to life through revealing and well-chosen detail.”
Recommends this book? YES

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“A beautiful and heartbreaking story of friendship and survival, abuse and retribution, love and justice, told without sentimentality but with a reporter’s sharp and spare prose.”Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post

“An excellent writer, highly recommended.”Tom Franklin, award-winning author of
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and Hell at the Breech

“A contemporary Southern version of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. Exquisitely wrought, spare and gorgeous prose, wonderful dialogue–this book is a winner and highly recommended.”Denise Hamilton, best-selling author of the Eve Diamond crime novels

“For those of us who grew up experiencing New Orleans… Thanksgiving hits close to home– maybe too close. It’s like stories we’re hearing from cousins about long-hidden family secrets. It flows freely, like hot beignets and coffee and chicory at Cafe du Monde on a crisp morning during football season.”P.M. LaRose, author of First Case of Beers

“From bayou mystique to Big Easy intrigue, here is an authentic Louisiana tale, well told. With characters that exude all the quirks and charm of exotic New Orleans and its environs, Thanksgiving navigates a gauntlet of trauma, survival and redemption and delivers a story that will keep readers in its grip from start to finish.”Ron Thibodeaux, author of Hell or High Water: How Cajun Fortitude Withstood Hurricanes Rita and Ike.

“Mary R. Arno’s “Thanksgiving” is a beautifully fractured narrative offering glimpses into the lives of three women over the course of their childhoods and adult lives… Arno writes with a poetic, visual touch, bringing characters, story and setting to life through revealing and well-chosen detail.” – Sarah Roe, Teachers College, Columbia University